© 2018

Private Property and the Origins of Nationalism in the United States and Norway

The Making of Propertied Communities

  • Presents a historical comparative analysis of nationalism in the United States and Norway from 1760 through 1880

  • Argues that widespread individual ownership of land became central to the concept of national popular sovereignty

  • Offers new insights into how agrarian societies transition to industrialism


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Agrarian Moment: Land and Freedom

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 31-37
    2. Eirik Magnus Fuglestad
      Pages 39-77
  3. Industrial Moment: Land to Labour

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 131-132
  4. Conclusions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 195-195
    2. Eirik Magnus Fuglestad
      Pages 197-217
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 219-223

About this book


In the eighteenth century, before a national political movement took hold in either the United States or Norway, both countries were agrarian societies marked by widespread private land ownership. Tracing the emergence and development of national ideology in each, Eirik Magnus Fuglestad argues that land ownership became tied up with these national ideologies and was ultimately a central driver of nationalism. In this book, the United States and Norway emerge as propertied communities, shaped by historical narratives of self-government and by property regimes that linked popular sovereignty with land ownership. Covering the mid-eighteenth century through industrialization in the nineteenth century, this book lays the groundwork for understanding the rise of nationalism as an agrarian, landed phenomenon, which later became the foundation of industrial society.


Nationalism Nation building history of land ownership property rights national sovereignty industrial nationalism landed property American national movement American revolution Declaration of Independence American constitutional convention Norwegian National movement Prince Christian Frederik's entry to Norway Eidsvoll constitutional convention popular sovereignty national idealogy histrorical sociology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Ruralis—Institute for Rural and Regional ResearchTrondheimNorway

About the authors

Eirik Magnus Fuglestad completed his PhD at the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is currently employed at Ruralis – Institute for Rural and Regional Research, Norway.

Bibliographic information